Destiny Birdsong
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Readings and Events

Poetry in the ‘Boro (Poetry reading with Allison Boyd Justus, followed by Open Mic)
The Green Dragon Public House, Murfreesboro, TN, May 18th, 2017

Nashville Public Radio’s Podcast Party (as part of Poetry On Demand)
Nashville Children’s Theatre, May 11th, 2017

Poets, Playwrights & Players II: A Special Night Blending Music and the Spoken Word
The Family Wash, Nashville, April 28th, 2017

Mercy & Magic: An Evening with Mary Gauthier & Wally Lamb (The Porch’s Third Annual Fundraiser)
Green Door Gourmet, Nashville, March 11th, 2017

Nashville International Women’s Day, 2017
OZ Arts Nashville, March 8th, 2017

Naugatuck River Review Reading at AWP
The Washington, D.C. Convention Center, February 9th, 2017

Pink Door Retreat’s Poetry and Pie Night
Rochester, NY, October 9th, 2016

Lyrical Brew: An Evening of Poetry
Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, May 27th, 2016

Poetry at Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt (hosted by Rose Alley Press)
Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, April 29th, 2016

“Written by Our Selves: The Craft of Immobile Corporeality”
AWP Annual Conference and Bookfair, Los Angeles, April 1st, 2016

AWP Offsite Event: Cave Canem Benefit and Fellows Reading
Elysian Restaurant, Los Angeles, March 30th, 2016

“Transgressing Boundaries: The Politics of Identity and Knowledge Transmission in Emily Raboteau’s The Professor’s Daughter”
The African American Intellectual History Society’s Third Annual Conference, Vanderbilt University, March 2017

“Can You See Us? Policed Black Womanhood” (craft talk)
Split This Rock Poetry Festival, Washington, D.C., April 2016

“Can I Live?: Writing Policed Black Women’s Bodies” (craft talk)
AWP Annual Conference and Bookfair, Los Angeles, CA, April 2016

“Life on a Crystal Stair: Depictions of Traumatic Knowledge Transmission Between Mothers and Daughters in Black Women’s Literature”
Nagoya American Studies Summer Seminar, Nagoya, Japan, July 2011

“Close Calls: Maternal Trauma, Knowledge Transmission, and Transnational Identity in Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones”
Sixth Annual Caribbean Women’s Writing Conference: Comparative Critical Conversations, London, UK, June 2011



“Ode to My Body”
The Adroit Journal Issue 24 (January 2018)

“but some men call out the rapists”
Muzzle (December 2017)

“the way i listen to you read poems.”
Foundry Issue 6 (December 2017)
(Check out my interview in this issue here.)

“To the Black Virgin Mary on a Steeple in Greensburg, PA”
Split This Rock’s Poem of The Week, September 1, 2017

“Refraction” (Winner of Meridian’s Borders Contest in Poetry)
Meridian 39

The Poetry on Demand Poems (Episodes 2 and 5)
The Versify Podcast (January-June 2017)

“My Therapist Tells Me I Keep Dating My Mother”
Because We Come From Everything, Cave Canem
Originally published with “Heirloom Fruit” in IthacaLit (Spring 2016)

“Mythicana” (Winner of the 2016 Poetry Contest)
Naugatuck River Review (Winter/Spring 2017)

“All That Is Happening Has Already Happened”
Indiana Review (38.2)

“A Theory of Intimacy” and “Another Theory of Intimacy” (Best New Poets nominees)
The Account (Spring 2016)

Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry [an anthology] (2016)

“Injection Ending in a Bible Verse”
Baltimore Review (Winter 2016)

“Macular Conception”
Little Patuxent Review 19 (Winter 2016): Myth

“Selective Reduction” (Pushcart Prize Nominee)
Rove (Fall 2015)

Vinyl 10 (July 2014)

HEArt (March 2014)

Rattle 36 (Winter 2011)

“Prenuptial Agreement” and “Inheritance”
The Feminist Wire (April 2011)


In Conversation: Destiny Birdsong
Love, This Skin (January 2018)

“Black Atlantic and Diaspora Literature” (as first author with Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo)
The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Ed. Yogita Goyal (2017)

“‘Memories that are(n’t) mine’: Matrilineal Cultural Trauma and Defiant Reinscription in Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard (2006)”
African American Review (Spring/Summer 2015)

“SlutWalk From the Margins” (as co-author with Donika Kelly, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Nicole Spigner)
The Feminist Wire (Oct 2011)

Destiny O. Birdsong

is a Louisiana-born poet, essayist, and editor who lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee. Her poems have either appeared or are forthcoming in African American Review, The Adroit Journal, Muzzle, Indiana Review, Bettering American Poetry Volume II, The BreakBeat Poets Presents: Black Girl Magic, Split This Rock’s Poem of the Week, and elsewhere. Her critical work recently appeared in African American Review and The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Destiny has won the Academy of American Poets Prize, Naugatuck River Review’s 2016 Poetry Contest, and Meridian’s 2017 “Borders” Contest in Poetry. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Jack Jones Literary Arts, and residencies from Pink Door, The Ragdale Foundation, and The MacDowell Colony. She earned both her MFA and PhD from Vanderbilt University, where she currently works as a research coordinator. Connect with her at

site photo credits: Melissa Madison Fuller, Hunter Armistead (makeup: La Risa Jones), Tony Gonzalez


originally appeared in Handful of Dust
originally appeared as Cave Canem’s Poem of the Week (September 2014)


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